Lafco

When I was in NY in January I bought three little packets of these bath salts at Lafco. I love the packaging so much (everything from that store, but these in particular). I really want one of each!

Central Park March 6th 1890

A little somethin-somethin from Etsy always fills me with glee. It's like buying books; a purchase I never feel guilty about. Because I feel good about who the money goes to and what those people do. Today, this jumped out at me. BFF moves to New York this Sunday, so it's apropos in a way.

From Julianna Swaney of Oh My Cavalier: "This drawing was inspired by the story of Eugene Schieffelin, the man who tried to introduce all the birds mentioned in the plays of Shakespeare into the Americas. On March 6th 1890 he released a few cages of starlings into Central Park, and now starlings are among the most common birds in the US. I always liked the strangeness of this story and image of a fancy 19th century man releasing cages of birds in a snowy landscape."


Hayden

I've had every Hayden album on repeat on my iPod for the last 36 hours solid. I'm not sure whether it's helping my iffy mood, but I love him so.

Is it over yet?

I feel like I'm going through a phase I can't wait to be over. Except I can't put my finger on what it is I want or need to end.


It's this same "change in the air" vibe. But I don't yet understand how all these changes will settle, and how much it will ultimately change things for me. I'm grasping for something stable right now but everything feels impermanent. Which of course it is.

But you know there's a difference between big-picture impermanence and day-to-day unbearable lightness. I need to strap some little indelible weight to my ankle to ground me now.

Image by Craig Fordham via Sarah Kaye Representation

Jimmy

 I spent most of today with Helena, Allen and baby Jimmy. Jimmy, it turns out, is a horse whisperer, just like his Aunt Janey. He smiles like this most of the time, and laughs out loud but only at something really funny. He's a keeper.

Lela Rose

Me, I'm always a sucka for crazy blues, greys and slouchy pants. All loveliness from Lela Rose.

Regolo

Those of you who've got to know me in any way, will understand the extent to which the Regolo system (also from Jesse) is sending shivers up my spine.

Jesse bed

I can't decide if I like this because it's unlike anything else I've seen or if I really, really love it. It fits almost everything I asked for, excepting slats instead of a solid headboard. But otherwise, it's low, streamlined and doesn't have that ubiquitous condo-bed look that I'm seeing everywhere. The curves make me happy.  From Jesse.

Jewelry storage

My fave antique store just posted this piece. It's a flatware chest. But I'm thinking it might be an epic way of storing my jewelry. Thoughts?

Beds

I can't find a bed I like at all! I've been wanting to post a shortlist of beds, but I'm enh about everything I find. It's either a big honking block of wood or some upholstered dealie. And neither are what I want.

These two, from Room & Board and Habitat, make it onto my not-so-enh list, but that's hardly good enough. Still, you get my gist: Streamlined. Preferably low or no footboard. I like bars or rails rather than a solid headboard. I like metal.


Tempus Fugit

I thought I wasn't ready for Fall fashion. Then today, I got a Christmas PR package and writing assignment. I'm officially confused about what year it is, never mind which season. The worst part is, I fear, that the time between now and then will fly without my noticing much. By nature, I have a hard time staying grounded in the present. My work is future-deadline oriented. And, of course, I'm a ridiculous and obsessive planner and list-maker and that always puts me thinking ahead.


Schopenhauer had a theory that we break free of the shackles of Will when we have an aesthetic experience. That moment when you're reading a book and can't put it down, or staring at an artwork and lose your sense of time and even space. I love that feeling. Some people find it's transporting, but I feel like it's the one time I become grounded and stop floating hither and thither.


I probably seem more reflective than usual this week. Change is definitely in the air here. And I'm still kind of beat from my decorating/renovating projects, not yet ready to tackle something new. When I sit still for a moment, I have a tendency to become pensive.


Images by Sharon Okun, a favourite, available from the Ingram Gallery

Ben Dearnley

Have you ever found yourself consistently drawn to something and only later realised it's all the product of one person or company? I've lusted my way through editions of Delicious, Donna Hay and Gourmet Traveller.

But, only recently did I notice many of the images that I registered and spent time on were shot by the person. Ben Dearnley's talent for shooting tasty morsels is obvious. But what's even more remarkable is his ability to make me salivate looking at pictures of food I wouldn't normally crave.


Yeats

The National Library of Ireland currently has an amazing virtual Yeats exhibition. The NYT wrote a wonderful article and has videos too. Below is my favourite Yeats poem (I love the word "chaunting") though I like this one too.

The Sorrow of Love
The quarrel of the sparrow in the eaves,
The full round moon and the star-laden sky,
And the loud song of the ever-singing leaves,
Had hid away earth's old and weary cry.

And then you came with those red mournful lips,
And with you came the whole of the world's tears,
And all the sorrows of her labouring ships,
And all the burden of her myriad years.

And now the sparrows warring in the eaves,
The curd-pale moon, the white stars in the sky,
And the loud chaunting of the unquiet leaves,
Are shaken with earth's old and weary cry.

Rainy Sunday

Today it rained. I mostly stayed in and did some writing. Also, I scanned some pictures from a Dublin Sunday when Mum & I drove out to Skerries, a fishing village in North County Dublin. I wanted to take pictures of the fishing trawlers and Mum walked the pier ahead of me while I did so.


My shooting caught the attention of two boys aboard the trawlers. I don't know if they were brothers or friends, I assumed their Dads were fishermen. They were quintessential Dublin kids, brazen but endearing, astonishingly quick-witted. They hopped from boat to boat heckling to get in the photographs and eventually asked me to snap them, which I did.


I should have taken their address and sent them the picture, but I didn't. I love this moment of friendship, the funny way they put their arms around each other, their complete openness.

Book report: What I Loved

Over the years friends and non-friends have used the following words to describe me: Detached, aloof, abstruse (I actually like that one) and cold. I'm sure there are more, but these serve to make my point.


The point is, given this, it must be something that this book made me quietly cry on the subway during rush-hour on the way to work. I started What I Loved mostly curious, fell out with it about 60 pages in, and next thing she had me weeping. After that I was suckered. I stayed up until 3am to finish it last night.
 

Image of Hustvedt byportrait photographer, Marion Ettlinger (via)

Shopping for basics

Today I hit a bunch of basics off the list. New lingerie from Bra Bar, a haircut and new denim. My online"due diligence" proved completely irrelevant once I got into a store and started trying on jeans.


Thankfully, Rachel at TNT Blu sized my needs up perfectly, listened to everything I wanted and I found 2 perfect pairs: Citizens of Humanity Kelly & Raven McKenzie's (images from Revolve Clothing). I would never ever have tried on the Ravens if she hadn't made me. In a week, I can pick them up from hemming!


Also at TNT Blu, I discovered American Vintage. Oh to die for tees, on sale too!

Louis le Brocquy

I've blogged before about Louis le Brocquy (in particular his Beckett paintings), but I'm lately enchanted by his illustrations for An Tain (an updated version of a 12th Century Irish text; The Táin Bó Cuailnge - táin, meaning the gathering of people for a cattle raid - is a prose epic with verse passages) published in 1969.

Rococo

I've blogged before about Rococo. But right this sec, I would nibble on one of these.

Missoni

I know, it seems sick and wrong to call out something by Missoni that doesn't have myriad hues. But I would love a little group of these monochromatic poufs. Aren't they fab? From Auto.

Verrier

It won't be me, but one of you ought to wear clothes this impossibly pretty. If you could do it while riding a bike that would sit perfectly well with me. With a basket, bell and flowers. And the ones like me, the ones who could/would never dress this prettily, will instead take pretty pictures of you. From Verrier's F/W collection.

Best tree ever

Do you have a favourite tree? I still think about this one. It's at home, in the grounds of Malahide Castle. We used to sometimes walk our dog there and I'd shoot pictures while he was running around. It's the same tree as in this picture. The best tree ever. I always felt that, from any angle, its arms are outstretched to give you a huge hug.

Comrags F/W

I'm a long way off really thinking about F/W fashion. But, I always get excited about the latest Comrags collection and am already eager to wear these clothes.

Gemma Comas

I'm thinking of getting some ferns . In fact, I'm going through a mini-obsession with houseplants. And it would seem I'm not alone. Gemma Comas just shot a lovely fern story for Country Home. I love her work. More here.

Done!

I took yesterday off work and blitzed my kitchen and it's basically done. I've got a few final things to buy, but the kitchen is back in use and it feels soooo good to be in it. Tiny as it is, it was a huge downer on my whole apartment. I'd show you before & after but BFF has my camera... soon I promise.


So, I'm feeling normal again. No inklings to take on another DIY project for the rest of the summer. I'm going to work and shop and eat and drink! It's either a mild summer or I'm becoming more resilient, because the sun & smog isn't getting to me as much. Usually I find it oppressive and hate being outside.

And my long-time friend Helena is coming from Scotland in 2 weeks, so I'm looking forward to that too! I'm feeling mellow and happy, there's a party upstairs and people are in cheerful high-spirits. I'm chomping through some freelance work so I can take tomorrow completely off. Bliss. Hope you're enjoying your weekend!

The gorgeous image is by Patryce Bak

Chloe

There are few brands that I can imagine stretching for. These boots are an exception.

Overwhelmed

This week is overwhelming. I feel like I have so many balls in the air right now. Arrivals and departures. Checklists for home and wardrobe. Not to mention work-work and freelance-work. Throw in a hapless crush (boo!) and you have Janey tailspin. Not pretty.


Happily, it's in these kinds of situations that I force myself to really focus. The living room plan last week was one instance. The near-end of my labour-of-love kitchen will help too (I've taken Friday off to blitz that project). Tonight, between coats drying I sat down and made a budget.

You won't be shocked to hear that I usually operate with a by-the-seat-of-my-pants style budget. But organizing lets me see when those wishlist purchases can fit in comfortably. And the prospect of checking things off my wishlist makes me happy, even if it takes a while. And now... I'm going to have a big bath.

Image by Christoph Kicherer

Trudie Mooney

I love these still lifes by Trudie Mooney. BFF has a stoneware jar exactly like those in the top image. From Coloured Rain.

Pretty glassware

The last thing I need is glassware, but I can still admire these collections from Giarimi.

Book report: Georgiana

Wow - it feels like forever since I finished a book. Remember I got stuck on Jane Austen and didn't know where to go next? I ended up picking Amanda Foreman's Georgiana off my bookshelf. I had bought it a while ago when it won the Whitbread Prize and never read it, in no small part because it's quite a tome to lug on the subway every day.


Being an historical biography it doesn't have the zippiness of Jane Austen, but being based in the same period it mirrors many of Austen's themes: The limitations of being female, the strict social decorum etc. However, this book lets in more scandal than Jane would ever allow - gambling, affairs, corruption and drug addiction are not glazed over for plot alone.

Georgiana was a formidable woman when in control of her actions, but she also struggled with various addictions and an unhappy marriage. When I read historical books, I'm always struck more by how much has remained the same than by how much has changed.

Next year ,Keira Knightley will play Georgiana in a movie based on this biography. Unfortunately, I always struggle with to like her as an actress even though she's in many movie translations of books I love... (Atonement, Pride & Prejudice, Silk).

Sleeping beauty

And it's called Sleeping Beauty... isn't that loveliness itself? From Taschide via Design is Mine.

Recipe of the week: Red wine sorbet w/ crushed strawberries

It's ages since I shared a recipe. I've been pretty bland lately, not drawn to stodginess. But it's heating up here (as my pink neck will attest), so here's a little something flavorsome and cooling from my much-used River Cafe Cook Book Green (not to mention boozy... I'm still a Flanagan after all)


Serves 6
500g strawberries, hulled
4 tsp caster sugar (I use Splenda)

Sorbet
1 litre Valpolicella red wine
100g caster sugar (Splenda again)
10 grains coarsely ground white pepper
6 cloves
Grated zest of 2 washed oranges (no pith)

Put sorbet ingredients into a saucepan and boil to reduce by half. Cool then strain, discarding "bits". Freeze until half-frozen, stirring at intervals. Or use an ice-cream machine.

Mash strawberries with sugar and add to the sorbet. Return to freezer.

Decor plans

You know that clarity that comes when you clean out a drawer or closet that you'd long avoided? It's an addictive feeling. All of a sudden it's followed by a month of purging. Last night I forced the same discipline on my virtual self. Sometimes I can feel like an out-of-control wishlist, always chasing after a gazillion expensive objects. So, I sat down and forced myself to make some choices, sacrifices and hone what I really want the most.


The good thing about this for me is that it makes me think realistically about budget. And that stops me being the excessive snob I'm easily inclined to be. So, yes, the Expedit is back, abetted by the fact I couldn't find bookshelves I love other than built-ins. And when I took pictures and did floorplans, the (palest) Henley made more sense than the sisal, but in a smaller size than I previously thought I'd want.

Have I mentioned I love Icovia? I'm going to do the same thing for my bedroom tomorrow.

Window-shopping

I like all three of these, though I would wear a little cap-sleeve tee under the tops and a three-quarter sleeve tee under the dress. I dislike arms in general and mine in particular. All from Net-A-Porter, here, here and here.

Jurgen Lehl

Jurgen Lehl uses fruits and vegetables as moulds for this "lightweight" pottery and the results are naturally refined.

Justine Smith

Justine Smith makes amazing, witty, irreverent and reflective artwork... out of money.